Amarantina Guitar

A viola amarantina, também designada de viola de Amarante, é típica da região do Douro Litoral. Menos conhecida do que a viola minhota, diferencia-se por ter uma escala mais comprida, até à boca, e ostenta dois corações, que se julga estarem ligados a uma história de amor envolvendo um trovador medieval. Esta Viola aparece principalmente nas “Festadas”, onde o seu tocador acompanha as “Chulas”, características da região do Baixo Tâmega. A viola amarantina possui 5 ordens de cordas duplas: as duas ordens mais agudas estão afinadas em uníssono, as três ordens mais graves estão afinadas em oitava. Algumas fontes dão a seguintes afinações : Lá Mi Si Lá Ré, do agudo para o grave, e a “Moda Velha” Lá Fá# Si Sol Ré.


The Viola Amarantina, also called Viola de Amarante, is from the Douro coast. Its fingerboard extends to its distinctive two-heart soundhole but is flush with the soundboard. The two hearts are thought to be connected to a love story involving a medieval troubadour. This guitar figures prominently in the festadas, where its player accompanies the Chulas, a characteristic dance from the region of Lower Tâmega. The bridge features a leaf motif glued to each side, and there is often also some inlay decoration beneath the bridge in the shape of a flower with leaves. As with nearly all violas, the bridge is in two parts: the strings run first over a thin piece of wood which acts as a floating saddle sitting directly on the soundboard, then pass through holes in the glued-on bridge, and are finally turned back and looped around pins or screws on top of the bridge. The Viola Amarantina has five courses of strings, the highest two being tuned in unison and the lowest three in octaves. Sources provide the following tunings: D3D4 A3A4 B3B4 E4 A4, from low to high, like the Lisboa guitar without the top course, and the Moda Velha: D3D4 G3G4 B3B4 F#4 A4.